Unsaid


 

 

You would be one hundred tomorrow,

and I would have made you a cake—

your mom’s white spice cake with what we kids used to call

cement frosting – sugar boiled to death, and slathered on

like plaster, with an old kitchen knife of Grandma’s.

 

I’d make you hot Lipton tea, even though it will be a scorcher of a day–

you with your sweater on, and me breaking a sweat.

We’d talk and laugh, but when I would ask about you growing up,

and what it was like in your younger days, you’d get quiet, and

change the subject to how my garden was doing.

 

I still think about you living with your aunt that year,

while Grandma went to Fort Worth.

I figured it out that year your

cousin’s kids came to live with us for the summer,

you adding chairs and another leaf to the table—

no explanation given.

 

Years later, when I brought our foster son to meet you,

you’d baked a pie and made your favorite dish,

put out your great grandma’s English china bowl

and just smiled and gave him a hug.

 

You’ve been gone a long time now, but I still

grow your favorite rose

and think of you when I plant my peas, using Grandpa’s hoe,

and set the table when guests are coming,

using your silverware, and folding the napkins just like you.

 

I’ll even make some Lipton tea on a stormy day, and read a book—

remembering you doing that, while a roast cooked in the oven,

filling the house with love, you saying “Hi” when I got back from school.

 

A few years ago, something great happened and I picked up the phone—

halfway through the number, I realized you wouldn’t answer the call,

and laugh when I told you the news—

I miss that, sometimes more than I think I can stand.

 

The other day, I drove by Great Grandma’s house,

where you were “born and raised” and learned to ride your uncle’s horse,

the old and “new” barns gone now, the road to the cemetery just grass,

a hundred years changed most everything, I think,

Except what really mattered, what was too often left

Unsaid.

 

 

—Neal Lemery

September 2017

 

Around The Sun, Again


Sixty One
That’s what my driver’s license says,
another trip around the sun.
Now older than my dad would ever be,
Him in the morning mirror, can that be me?

I stop and look around, this last corner of winter,
and spring already coming around,
always, for me, a time of possibilities, expectations,
the new year ready to be explored,
the last, questioned.

End of winter, end of another year,
the door opening just a crack, letting in fresh air,
to whatever I can make of it.

Take a breath, pause and smell the air,
be the cat that explores new found sun,
all the day’s gift, imagining that experience
just for itself, all its wonderment.

Candles to light, and make a wish,
laughter and smiles
for coming this far, and
moving around the next corner,
being the cat in the garden,
after yesterday’s winter.

Sixty one, another number
not really the measure
of where I’ve been, and where I will go,
or all that I will come to be.

Neal Lemery 2/2014

22


Celebrating 22, birthday man,
Anger’s ashes still cooling
The man he thought was dad, died when he was fifteen,
Real dad never around, never calling him son,
The kindly grandma he thought he had, now not really sure
She even knows he lives, but remembering
Her laugh, her soup after school.

We eat cake and tells stories, play guitar and laugh,
No one else in these chairs now
Behind this prison’s walls
He sings me his song.

5/31/13